The United Kingdom is one of the most accepting markets where online gambling is concerned. The country is one of the prime locations for online casino operators to offer their services and both users and the government are more than happy with the arrangement.
As a result, UK players are spoiled for choice when it comes to picking an online casino. With so many options, one might find themselves unable to pick one. For your convenience, we will go in-depth about the aspects which you should consider when choosing an online casino, including software, payment methods, regulations, games and more.
Hallmarks of a Good UK Online Casino
Of course, you should also know how to recognize a good online casino when you see one. Unfortunately, there is a substantial number of illegitimate websites which can have less than ideal intentions. Luckily, there are several ways that you can verify that a gambling website is legitimate and that it is worth playing there.
One of the most important aspects of any online casino is the licensing. Online gambling is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world and there are many government institutions around the globe dedicated to policing the multiple gambling websites. Websites are put through difficult tests which they must pass before they can acquire a license. A certification from a respected regulatory body is what you should look for. Any casino that possesses one will have a link somewhere on the website. UK players should look for a license issued by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and as we have mentioned, all online casinos offering their services legally in the UK need to have one.
Something else you should look out for is a confirmation of the return-to-player percentages of the individual games. A third-party company will normally do the tests, such as eCorga. What this indicates is that the games have been tested and the company auditing them has confirmed that they are indeed fair and reliable for the purposes of gambling. This is not as imperative as a license, but it is a good indicator that the casino is not trying to cheat you. Not all online casinos post the values of their RTP percentages, so even if you come across one that makes no mention of this, it does not mean that it is illegitimate.
Finally, you should look for an online casino with a competent customer service team. After all, you would like to play at a website where users are value and the staff are eager to help resolve any and all issues. A good customer support team can make all the difference and even if you do not need help, it is nice to know that there is someone out there ready to assist you in anything. If nothing else, it is an indication that the casino values its customers and is ready to provide them with an excellent gambling experience.
Gambling Regulations in the United Kingdom
Regarding the legalities of online gambling in the United Kingdom, there are several factors that you have to consider. Gambling in the jurisdiction of the UK is perfectly legal for the average player. With the introduction of the Gambling Act in 2005, online gambling was legalised making any gambling venture a legitimate operation, as long as the company providing the service abides by certain rules and regulations. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission was established when the Gambling Act was passed into law and that is the regulatory body responsible for the oversight of all gambling operations within the UK. The Commission is one of the most respected institutions of its kind in the world and it has an excellent track record for policing the websites that it regulates.
The UKGC is responsible for vetting online casinos and other types of gambling websites to ensure that they meet all required standards. This includes audits for fair gambling, meaning that the games of each online casino are tested to prove that the results are the true product of chance, rather than predetermined. Moreover, an online casino holding a UKGC license has to be able to safely store users’ personal and banking information and comply with any anti-money-laundering laws. Under the terms of the UKGC, online casinos have to verify the identity and age of each of their customers, thus proving that it is legal for them to gamble online.
In cases of a dispute between a user and an online casino, the UKGC does not serve as an arbiter, as would most other licensing bodies. Instead, this task is delegated to authorised third-party companies and you can present your case before should the need arise. The decision will be final and once the case is closed it will be review no further.
To keep things short, it is important for you to know that an online casino that offers its services to the UK public has to be licensed by the UKGC. This is not debatable and any website that does not comply is not operating legally within the country.
Software Providers at UK Online Casinos
The games that you find at an online casino are not created by the gambling websites personally, rather they are ‘rented’ from companies that specialise in the development of online casino software. These companies are often referred to as software providers and they are committed to supplying gambling websites and their customers with a variety of casino games. There are multiple software providers that offer their services to UK online casinos and millions of players are able to enjoy them on a daily basis. Below, we will cover some of the most popular companies whose games you are most likely to find online.
Microgaming is one of the largest software provider companies in the world and one of the oldest in the business. Established back in 1994, this company has been operating almost as long as the online casino industry has existed. Microgaming was one of the first software providers to offer their services to online casinos and it has remained in a dominant position for most of its history. Currently, this company offers one of the largest selections of games out there and anyone who has ever played some of their games can attest to their innate entertainment value and quality. Microgaming supplies countless gambling websites with a variety of slots, table games, live dealer titles and more.
Playtech has long been considered to be the main rival of Microgaming, given that the two have fought for decades to be the top software provider in the industry. Playtech was established as a company in 1999 in Estonia and since then it has expanded on an international level. In terms of their software, this company has brought many exciting innovations to the industry and it currently provides a large number of online casinos with their products. As far as their games are concerned, Playtech has a diverse selection made up of many different slots, table games and even live dealer titles.
NetEnt is one of the most beloved software providers in the online casino industry. This company traces its origins back to 1996 in Sweden and in the two decades that is has been active, it has created some of the best casino games currently available. Moreover, the quality of NetEnt games is much higher than the average, which is a major factor in the company becoming as popular as it has. NetEnt games are characterized by their great graphical fidelity and smooth animations, which certainly make the title come to life on your screen. Additionally, the gameplay is no less good, making the whole experience highly enjoyable. Online casinos powered by NetEnt have many slots, roulette, blackjack and video poker games to offer you, as well as a few live dealer titles.
Evolution Gaming is not like the other companies listed above. Whereas Microgaming, Playtech and their like try to be the jack of all trades, focusing on all major game genres of the online casino industry, Evolution Gaming takes a different approach. This company works exclusively with the live dealer genre and is dedicated to making their product as accessible as possible. Evolution Gaming operates three separate streaming studios spread over multiple continents and is able to offer one of the largest selection of live dealer games on the market. This is the company which was partially responsible for the growing popularity of the live dealer genre in the late 2010’s and it is now one of the main proprietors of this kind of games.
Play’n GO may not the largest, nor the most popular software provider on this list, but it certainly deserves a spot on it. Unlike the other companies listed here, Play’n GO does not have a large selection of games, but what it can offer you is certainly unrivalled in terms of quality. Play’n GO games are some of the best looking on the market and you will be more than pleased to play them. Moreover, the company supplies a large number of online casinos, making their software highly accessible. Currently, Play’n GO has a stable selection of virtual slots and table games, each bearing the signature look and feel of the company. You will immediately recognise Play’n GO games by their unmatched presentation and great entertainment value.
Popular Game Types at UK Online Casinos
Each casino market is different, with players from different countries or continents preferring certain types of games over others. The European market, of which the United Kingdom is part of, has a strong liking to slots and particular table games. Thus, online casino available to a UK player base will have certain game types in abundance. Below, we will list some of the most popular game types featured at UK gambling websites.
Slots are without a doubt the most popular casino game genre currently available at gambling websites. This was one of the first game types to be adapted to the new virtual format and the genre has greatly expanded since the industry began. The popularity of slot games is made evident by the sheer number of them available at any gambling website. Any online casino that you visit will offer at least several hundred unique slot games if not more.
The appeal of this game genre comes partly from its inherent entertainment potential. Since every spin brings some new with it, the thrill of watching the reels spin is certain. Moreover, the sheer quantity of games allows software providers to experiment with different themes and aesthetics, which in turn adds plenty of new titles for players who would normally not be satisfied with the usual offerings. It is a snowball effect that has so far worked great for everyone. Additionally, slot games vary not only in themes but also in gameplay. There are many different types out there, including classic 3-reel slots, slots with strict paylines, slots that use the 243-ways-to-win system and the 4098-ways-win system. No other genre can match slots in terms of diversity and this is why it is the most popular game type at online casinos.
Roulette is one of the all-time favourites among table game enthusiasts. This game has been around since the 16th century in some form or another and has seen great success in both land-based and online casinos. Roulette has a lot to offer to those willing to place a bet. For one, the multiple betting options are quite extensive and will provide you with many choices in how you wish to gamble your money. There are many different bet types, giving you the option to place low- or high-risk bets as you wish, with the payouts being adjusted accordingly. Moreover, roulette generally comes with a comparatively high return-to-player percentage, meaning that your bankroll will not be affected by the house too much.
There are many different roulette sub-genres, including all the classic types, as well as, some modern iterations. This gives users options when it comes to choosing the game that they wish to play, making roulette one of the best game types that you can play at online casinos.
Blackjack stands as one of the cornerstones of casino gambling next to roulette and similar table games. Blackjack has a rich and diverse history, with many different forms of the game taking precedence in casinos all over the world. The popularity of the game is attributed to multiple factors, each contributing in their own unique way as to why we love blackjack so much. It is a fact that blackjack is relatively simple to grasp, however, mastery of the game comes only after many hours of play and extensive reading. This makes it appealing to both newcomers who simply wish to play a few hands and veterans of the genre who wish to excel at the game as much as possible.
Moreover, the fact that your choices will affect your performance in the game is another reason why blackjack is so popular. Decision making is not featured in most casino game genres, but blackjack has that in abundance. On every single hand, there is an optimal way to play and those who take the game seriously gain great satisfaction when they score a win. Finally, blackjack is highly diverse and there are many different styles that you can play. Each blackjack sub-genre takes a slightly different approach to the rules, not enough to make the game seem unfamiliar, but significant enough to have an effect.
Video poker is yet another highly popular casino game, featured at many different gambling websites. This genre traces its origins back to the 1970’s when it first started appearing in high-profile casinos. Mixing the rules of poker with the randomness of slot games, the creators of video stumbled onto something great. The game quickly became popular with players and it soon started expanding to the point where there were multiple variations of it available everywhere. Currently, video poker is among the most played casino games out there and there are several reasons that we can attribute this to.
For starters, the game is easy to play but difficult to achieve proficiency in. This makes it accessible to everyone from first-time players to veterans of the industry. Moreover, the decision-making process is a major factor, as it is not too common in most casino games. Finally, the game follows poker rules to a larger or lesser extent, and everyone likes poker. Overall, video poker is highly enjoyable and one of the fairest game types due to the extremely low average house edge.
Live Dealer Games
Live dealer games are one of the latest additions to the online casino industry and they have had a profound impact on the online gambling community. Live dealer games have only been available for about a decade or so, but in that short time frame, they have already conquered the hearts and minds of millions of players from all over the world. Live dealer games are streamed from professional studios, where a professional croupier hosts some form of table game. As you can imagine, this type of online gambling is highly immersive and it is for many the closest they will ever get to playing at a brick-and-mortar casino.
There are a variety of different live dealer games out there, though most take the form of certain table games. More specifically, you will be able to play Live Roulette, Live Blackjack, Live Casino Poker, Live Baccarat and more. There are many software providers who are in the business of hosting live dealer games and thus, players have options when it comes to picking the right titles for them.
Mobile Support for UK Online Casinos
Smartphones and tablets have become an unstoppable force in the realm of the Internet and they are an ever growing phenomenon, single-handedly changing many industries in their path. The online gambling scene is no different. For several years now, we have had the opportunity to play on our mobile devices and this has brought on many changes to online casinos. For one, many gambling websites now support access from smartphones and tablets, giving us the opportunity to fill in those moments of boredom while on the go.
With our mobile devices, we now have the opportunity to play some of our favourite games without the need to stay in front of our desktop computers. As a result, online casinos have started appealing more and more to mobile players and software providers have adapted the majority of their gaming selections so that the titles are accessible on a wide range of devices, from the smallest smartphones to the tablets with the huge displays. Mobile gaming has changed the online gambling industry for the better and we are seeing new improvements on a daily basis.
There are several ways in which you can go about playing on your smartphone or tablet. The most convenient is to simply load the casino’s website within the browser of your mobile device. This will allow you to immediately start playing, much like you would on a desktop computer. The instant play interface available to mobile devices is not too different from the one you would normally utilise on a PC. The games are loaded directly from the website and you can instantly start placing bets.
The alternative is to download an application if the casino has provided you with one. This will give you the option of having a dedicated shortcut to the casino directly on your home screen and allow you to go straight into your favourite titles. There is not too much difference between playing from a dedicated app than using the mobile instant play interface, though some users seem to prefer one over the other. This is entirely subjective and you should decide for yourself which you like better. However, when choosing to go with the application there are some things which you should be made aware of. Users with iOS devices have to download the apps directly from the Apple App Store, a process that takes no more than a few clicks.
Android users, on the other hand, will have a somewhat different experience. Google has forbidden the inclusion of real-money gambling applications on the Google Play platform and thus, users will have to resort to manually downloading and installing the apps. While this is not at all complicated, it does raise concerns for some people, since the apps will not have been checked by Google’s anti-malware software and other security systems. While we do not imagine that legitimate online casinos would ever stoop to defrauding their user base, it is more of a matter of principle than anything else.
In terms of functionality, you will find that mobile gaming is just as practical as its desktop counterpart. Users will have access to the same features available on the PC version, including promotions, banking options, customer service, security features and so on. The only difference that you can expect to find is in the number of games available. While software providers have done an excellent job in adapting their product to be accessible on mobile devices, the sheer number of games makes it difficult for some to process. As a result, it is a common trend that software providers will only adapt their more recent titles to the mobile format. For the vast majority of players this is no cause for concern, but if you expect to play some older games on your smartphone or tablet you may find yourself lacking for choice.
Payment Methods Supported by UK Online Casinos
As is usually the case, you will not be able to deposit to your online casino balance with physical cash. This will force you to resort to one of the many online payment services supported by gambling websites. These come in many different types and each will provide you with a different set of advantages and disadvantages. Below, we will outline some of the more popular payment methods as well as give you some insight into how they work. Then it will be up to you to decide which service type is right for you.
Credit cards are certainly the most used payment method on the Internet and they offer quite a lot of convenience when it comes to finding your online bankroll. For starters, credit cards are one of the most accessible payment services which you can have at your disposal. Practically every bank offers some form of credit card and users are able to easily get their hands on one. Furthermore, credit cards are universally accepted which means that you will be able to use them at just about any online casino, as well as, a host of other online services.
Credit cards provide you with one very important advantage that not all payment methods support and that is instant transactions. The money that you deposit to your online bankroll will be available as soon as you confirm the transaction, giving you the option to immediately start placing bets on your favourite games. Additionally, the transactions are quite easy to make and you should have no trouble in doing so. Furthermore, the security offered by banks is some of the best in the world, meaning that you can enjoy your games in peace, knowing that your money will be safe. In terms of withdrawals, a cash-in request will be processed within a few business days. Something that you should keep in mind is that most online casinos cannot process withdrawals to MasterCard holders, though Visa holders should have no issues with this.
Electronic wallets are one of the most used payment methods by online gambler and they are supported all throughout the industry. An eWallet is a service where users are able to control and move their funds on the Internet, much like they would with a standard bank account. This type of payment method is available at most online casinos and millions of players use them every day. Moreover, there are some significant advantages that come with using an eWallet. For one, your deposits will clear almost instantly and your money will be available as soon as you confirm the transaction.
Withdrawals, on the other hand, are some of the fastest that the industry has to offer and you will have your money within hours of the casino confirming the transfer. Additionally, since the service is completely separate from your personal bank account, you will enjoy a certain amount of anonymity when making a deposit. Popular eWallet services available to UK players include Skrill, Neteller, ecoPayz and more.
If instead, you would prefer not to commit to any particular payment method, you can always go for prepaid cards. This payment method will allow you to instantly deposit to your online casino bankroll with complete anonymity.
Prepaid cards are a good way for you to fund your online casino balance, but unfortunately, you will not be able to use the same method to withdraw your winnings. Due to the impersonal nature of prepaid services, the only way for you to withdraw your balance would be to use a bank transfer, which the casino will be more than happy to provide.
Cryptocurrencies have been all the rage this past year and are currently one of the fastest rising payment methods on the Internet. A cryptocurrency is a form of money that only exists on the Internet and has no physical form. They are designed to be used exclusively online making them perfect for the purposes of online gambling. With a cryptocurrency, you will be able to deposit to your online casino balance within a minute at the most.
Moreover, you will also benefit from complete anonymity since your crypto wallet does indicate its owner. Withdrawals, on the other hand, can be a bit tricky. Some online casinos are willing to pay you in fiat currency which might not be suitable for some players, but there are those who would send your winnings in the cryptocurrency that you used to deposit. This is on a case by case basis and we cannot speak for each individual online casino. Popular cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and more.
Frequently Asked Questions about UK Online Casinos
For the purposes of online gambling, an online casino will have to ask you for some form of identification. This can take the form of a government-issued ID, a driver’s license, a utility bill, a bank statement, any official document that bears your name. Moreover, if you deposit via a credit card, the casino may ask you to send a copy of the card. Sending all of this information is required by law and to verify that you are indeed of legal age to gamble online. The casinos have no choice in the matter and if they cannot prove your identity they will have to refund your deposit and close your account.
Withdrawals are slightly slower than deposit due to several factors. For one, you will have to wait while the payment provider processes the transaction. This does not apply only to you, but to the online casinos as well. They do not immediately receive your money, but they still let you play since they have a confirmation that you did indeed send the transaction. Additionally, when you request a withdrawal, a casino employee has to review and approve it. This process can take anywhere between 1 hour and 2 business days, depending on the online casino. This is done so that the casino may verify that you have abided by the rules and have correctly wagered your bonus, that is if you claimed one.
There are many ways an online casino protects your data. For starters, they are required by law to be able to store and handle your information safely and that no unauthorised individuals gain access to it. Furthermore, most online casinos employ high-tech encryption systems which encode all data that you send to the website, meaning that only you and the casino staff can view it. Additionally, the casinos also provide you with certain methods that you can safeguard your account, such as 2-Factor-Authentication and text message verification. In any event, as long as you do not share your account with anyone, your information will be safe.
Bonus money is awarded to players as a result of claiming a promotion. It is called bonus money and is different from ‘real’ money in the sense that you have to meet a wagering requirement before you can withdraw it. This wagering requirement is different for each individual online casino, but generally, you will have to place X times the value of the bonus in bets, before the casino will let you cash in that sum. Each gambling website has its own unique terms and conditions regarding bonuses and you should carefully read and understand them before agreeing to accept a bonus.